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Google has posed the first viable threat to Facebook's monopoly on our digital social lives. Skimming through my news feed, it's clear that a threat to the current system is appealing to my generation'a small revolution against the Zuckerberg regime. As Facebook has grown to ubiquity over the past several years, there's been a simultaneous feeling of dependence upon and resistance against the network. However, I'm pretty confident that there will not be a mass migration of the nearly seven hundred million Facebook users tomorrow. Fresh out of school, I've been taught how to quickly and easily predict the fate of Google+. (And you can too: a lesson from Wikipedia on Rogers Five Factors.) I've amassed enough debt; here's what I've learned. Google+ has several valuable relative advantages over Facebook. Most notably, the developers try to mimic real world social organization by allowing users to categorize people: Good Looking Friends, People I Shouldn't Over-Share With, Bad Dates, etc.* Google+ also allows you to own and download your data. For those who have collected several years' worth of content on Facebook, a data back-up seems comforting. There's also an improvement on privacy settings, a constant issue for some Facebook users. (You may recall they failed miserably at securing user privacy the first time around.) Facebook may own half of my digital content, but Google conveniently owns the other half. The integration of Google+ with all the other Google applications that I use daily makes the new technology compatible. Another check off Rogers' list. As for the element of complexity, the Google+ interface seems intuitive if you have familiarity with any of Google's other products. The only exceptions are a couple of buggy interactions, which we can't criticize'this is Google+ Beta, after all. Many of my friends are already experimenting with the platform's trialability. It's easy to try, if you have at least one nerdy friend to invite you. And lastly, Google+ is sparking conversation and reactions, not surprisingly, all over the established social networks. (Rogers called this observability.) According to this scholar, Google+ appears to be a strong Facebook rival on paper. What does your intuition tell you? In my opinion, people could make room for a third social network. A friend of mine segmented the networks nicely: Facebook is a large arena to keep in touch with past acquaintances, Twitter is a platform to form potential relationships, and Google+ is, perhaps, a more intimate environment to regularly communicate with current friends and contacts. On the other hand, six million Americans deleted their Facebook accounts in May. Maybe, rather than a Facebook supplement, there's a desire for an alternative. And if you don't want to have to choose, check out this plug-in. *I think Google has 'borrowed'? this idea from Diaspora.
In early November, Twitter launched a new type of paid ad that would place tweets directly into the timelines of Twitter users regardless of whether the user follows a brand or not. This latest launch is the third phase of Twitter's paid advertisement offering which currently includes Promoted Trends, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets. Ad placements will be targeted based on the types of friends and brands a user already follows. The initial roll out of the new paid ads will only be appearing for consumers who use the third party client HootSuite to manage their Twitter accounts (reaching some 900,000 users). Depending on ad effectiveness, Twitter will roll out the paid tweets to other third party clients, and eventually Twitter.com. The greatest advantage of paid tweets in timelines over other paid Twitter ads available is paid tweets provide increased reach over all other paid ads. While users have already expressed concern over timeline ads sullying the Twitter experience, a Twitter spokesman insists paid tweets are intended as means of extending a brand's normal tweets to a larger audience. Through analysis of link clicks, 'favoriting'? and re-tweeting, Twitter promises to scrap tweets that aren't 'working'?. While I'm inclined to believe that Twitter seeks to preserve the user experience at all costs, I highly doubt the company has the bandwidth to keep promoted tweets in timelines in check. Spammers currently run amok on Twitter creating a lack of confidence in Twitter's ability to ditch the ads that aren't garnering user attention, or prevent paid timeline ads from containing blatant and overt ad messaging rather than 'normal tweet'? language. The act of monitoring tweets from a brand that pays for ad placement also seems to be a conflict of interest for Twitter. In the end, what will Twitter sacrifice? The ad revenue (that it will be sharing with its third party clients)? Or the user experience? So what are the implications and challenges for advertisers, marketers and brands? Remember that Twitter, like most social networks, exists for its users, not brands. Social media is not a space where the brand 'talks'?, but rather listens to consumers. Don't discount the savvy of the social network user. Users today, especially the XYZ generations, can see right through poorly concealed ad messaging and will ignore it faster than a text from their mom. The key to receiving the most benefit from a promoted timeline tweet will be to use the tool as it's intended, spreading your normal tweets to the masses. Remember to keep your messaging and content engaging. Users will already be turned off by the yellow box exclaiming your tweet was promoted, but if the content is truly engaging a user might consider ignoring the paid attempt to reach them. In the end, a promoted timeline tweet could not only build awareness for a brand, promotion or product launch, but could also aid in growing a brand's network. Sources: http://www.thestar.com/business/media/article/885243--twitter-moving-toward-paid-tweets-in-users-timelines http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=146822 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/02/twitter_ads_in_user_timelines/